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Posted on November 17th, 2014 (11:00 am) by Jesse Clark

Twenty years after The Division Bell, progressive rock legends Pink Floyd bid farewell with The Endless River, likely to be their final album. The news hit the fans a few months back when current frontman and lead guitarist, David Gilmour, announced they’d be putting out a new album this fall, recycling unused material recorded during The Division Bell sessions. What this means for Floyd fans is that Rick Wright, the band’s late keyboardist and founding member, is featured on all eighteen tracks. This means that the line-up hasn’t truly changed since bassist, Roger Waters, left the band in 1985. This may or may not be for the best.

It's likely that many people have had a bit of cosmic attraction toward Pink Floyd throughout their musical adventures. They’ve got a surreal, yet brutally honest outlook on reality, and for most fans, it sticks with them throughout the rest of their lives. Their lyrics bring out bottled up emotions we didn’t think we had about topics we knew little to nothing about. Gone are the days of those lyrics that used to cut so deep, infuriating any fragile mind into rebelling against conformity, or curling up into a ball crying for their mother. The band’s fifteenth studio album The Endless River is a 52-minute odyssey that’s almost completely instrumental.

The band’s lack of lyrical creativity is partly due to Roger Waters' absence. His songwriting has always had this ballsy spark that unforgivingly pushed the envelope, testing both our own tolerance, and that of the the music industry. His shock-and-awe, matter-of-fact lyrics laid the foundation for some of Pink Floyd’s most moving masterpieces.

Throughout the album we can hear slight glimpses, or possible allusions, to some of the band’s previous albums. The bluesy, opera-esque “It’s What We Do” sounds strikingly reminiscent to Wish You Were Here’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond," but more mellow and jazzy. “Sum” is a unique track due to its similarities to their earlier space rock and psychedelic material, like “Astronomy Domine” and the industrial prog-rock like “Welcome to the Machine.” Meanwhile, “Skins” has superb rhythms from Nick Mason that bring us right back to the war-like drumming and haunting ambience on “Saucerful Of Secrets.”

The snappy guitar licks and sharp solo performance on “Allons-YS (1)” can be compared to, but not nearly equated to that of “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. II.” A seamless transition takes us into the organ-dominated "Autumn ’68," an obvious counterpart to “Summer ’68,” recorded for Atom Heart Mother. We then dive right back into “Allons-Y (2),” keeping the theme going throughout, this three-part medley reminds us of the type of epics found on Animals, only much shorter. “Talkin’ Hawkin’,” featuring Stephen Hawking, is definitely Division Bell-esque, but then again, most of the album is composed of its unused cuts.

We feel this serene sense of both comfort and uneasiness listening to Pink Floyd, and although their last few albums haven’t been the types of classics their predecessors have, there’s a residue of campiness that’s impossible to shake. They’ll never be the band they once were, whether it’s because of missing members, twenty years of aging, or lack of creativity. However, they still have a spot reserved in our hearts, and we think fans needed this record to be able to come to terms with the band ending once and for all. “Louder Than Words” sums up just about everything these men have been through together as the band called Pink Floyd. It may not be the anthem "Wish You Were Here" became, but it's a final song that will be sure to bring a tear to your eye. All pre-convictions and prejudices aside, The Endless River is nothing in comparison to their early portfolio. However, it still shines as a sparkling memory of the band that was Pink Floyd.

Track List:

  1. Things Left Unsaid
  2. It’s What We Do
  3. Ebb and Flow
  4. Sum
  5. Skins
  6. Unsung
  7. Anisina
  8. The Lost Art of Conversation
  9. On Noodle Street
  10. Night Light
  11. Allons-y (1)
  12. Autumn’68
  13. Allons-y (2)
  14. Talkin’ Hawkin
  15. Calling
  16. Eyes to Pearls
  17. Surfacing
  18. Louder Than Words
Pink Floyd - The Endless River Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

66 / 100
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